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A Flooded Landscape

19 December 2013

Not sure if this should be archaeology, geology, or catastrophism but the link to read is at http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-worlds-first-de… …. we have what is claimed to be the worlds first prehistoric map of Britain. This ignores the fact Ordnance Survey have such a map, mostly of prehistoric sites mind you, and various geology maps are even older than prehistoric – and well worth having a gander. These maps are based on the recently published book by Robert John Langdon, 'The Stonehenge Enigma' (which can be ordered via Amazon). Langdon says Britain suffered a massive 'post glacial flooding event' but he doesn't date to the end of the Ice Age. Instead, the blurb claims it occurred ten thousand years ago – which is the end of the Younger Dryas event. I didn't realise there was a massive flood event at that time – but we are all up for learning and taking it onboard. This dating anomaly may be a flaw in the theory but reading the book will be the proof of the pudding – so expect an update in the next few weeks.

Steve Mitchell did something like this to illustrate how Late Roman period flooding may have affected the landscape – and therefore it is worth taking into account. There is no reason to suppose that flooding was not a feature of major catastrophe events – which include the end of Younger Dryas (we might hazard a guess). The maps are at www.abc-publishing-group.co.uk/maps.html and one can at once compare them with the Mitchell article on this website – go to papers online.

Stonehenge, on the map (above) is surrounded on three sides by water. I'm not sure if this can happen in a chalk landscape as chalk is porous. Anyway, giving the author the benefit of the doubt, always a good idea, we may note the maps are an adaption of early Ordnance Survey maps. These were drawn up in the early 1800s in preparation of an invasion by France. The Napoleonic wars led to the expectation that if things did not work out and then Britain itself would be invaded and all its rich landowning class would be at risk of having their necks cut in two like their French counterparts a few years previously. These maps were not strong on things such as earthworks or old boundary ditches but they were excellent, and quite clear and bold when it came to topographical features. This was perfect for Langdon as he could demonstrate more clearly where the water level would have been, a simple use of height in the landscape. In other words, it didn't take into account the geology. Never mind, the water was not just there in the Mesolithic period (prior to the post-glacial bounce back) but was also there in the early Neolithic period (roughly 6000 years ago). We might well be sceptical about the way Langdon has put the maps together but it would be interesting to see if there was a land connection between the Netherlands and East Anglia in the early Neolithic. The maps are on view at Ology, 12-14 High Street, Rottingdean, East Sussex. See also the ABC web site.

Sticking to the theme of floods SIS member Gary Gilligan has sent in an interesting link – go to www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2525420/megafloods-carved-canyon… … these floods are mega. A 9m deep flood in Idaho is calculated by modelling to have occurred around 46,000 years ago (not sure why that date) and this carved out canyons in the Malad Gorge State Park. Not only that, similarities between the canyons in Idaho and canyons on the planet Mars are getting people excited. The search is on for water on Mars, for some as yet unexplained reason. Hence, geologists are prepared to turn geological theory upside down in order to incorporate the Mars data – and explain it in a rational kind of geological manner. That involves water. The canyons on Mars are now deemed to be evidence of similar flooding on the red planet whereas the uniformitarian most dominant geological view is that canyons are formed very very slowly, carved out by the steady process of erosion from upwelling springs. Funny, this uniformitarian staple has been ejected. A paper in PNAS disputes the uniformitarian explanation (which is a positive) and attributes the canyons to a single massive flooding event. The inference is that canyons on Mars were formed as quickly and by a mega flooding event.

Researchers are now developing models simulating canyon formation by mega flooding. All to keep the astronomers happy at NASA. Its wonderful to see geology turned upside down when there is a necessity – but will it be catching? Hopefully, they might have another look at the sea bed of the English Channel where there is a lot of canyons formed when the chalk ridge at the Dover/Calais point was breached – by a massive wave of water.

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